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Old 08-01-2013, 06:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Cool Tony Martin & Ronnie James Dio

Not sure if this is a topic that has been discussed before, but it's a subject that I've always felt strongly about and rarely had a chance to talk about with other Black Sabbath fans.

The Sabbath discography is commonly divided into two groups, "The Ozzy Years" and "The Post-Ozzy Years", and despite the fact that 4 different lead singers (5 if you include Ray Gillen, which I don't) have fronted the band from 1980-1995, the Post-Ozzy Years are more often than not represented as Dio's era. Though I understand that Dio may now be the most famous of Ozzy's replacements, due to his fame with Dio and Rainbow, his overall status as a heavy metal icon and that Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules were made when the band had not yet suffered their decline in popularity, but as regards to the second most important era of Sabbath's music, I feel that Tony Martin's albums deserve to be rated higher than what the band created with Dio.

Tony Martin may not have achieved the immortal status in the genre that Dio did, but I can't help but understand the origin of his bitterness towards the band, as something which no doubt represents his most prestigious accomplishment in the music industry sees him pushed to the side and placed firmly and (I think) unfairly in the shadow of Dio. Tony Martin is (in my opinion) a far better lyricist and possessed a much stronger vocal talent than Dio did. I feel that, although 'Heaven and Hell' is probably the best song written outside of the Ozzy Years, the album itself is horrendously overrated, and held up by a few decent tracks, while the rest is purely dull filler. Mob Rules is a fantastic album, but in my opinion, it is the only true great record that Dio made with Sabbath. Dehumanizer is decent, but is over-long and lacks restraint on Iommi's part with regards to his overwrought solos.

Martin's debut with The Eternal Idol may have come after Gillan and Hughes had managed to confuse the fanbase with an ever changing line-up, but what the band achieved with songs like 'The Shining', 'Nightmare' and 'Eternal Idol' is remind us what Sabbath was originally about, making scary music. Dio's efforts are undeniably a power-play, an attempt to turn Black Sabbath into Dio's Black Sabbath, and to upset the band's eternal image as: Ward, Butler, Iommi and Osbourne. Martin, who appeared to have less creative control than Dio, appears to have more respect for the origins of the band, and with Headless Cross made an album that offered a much needed return for Sabbath into the darkness and moodiness of heavy metal. Songs like 'Headless Cross' and 'When Death Calls' deserve to be placed up in the ranks with 'Heaven and Hell', 'Neon Knights' and 'The Sign of the Southern Cross'. But what I can gather from general opinion and the words of reviewers and biographers of the band is that these albums are an embarrassment to the Sabbath name. TYR is one that appears to divide the most opinion, but songs like 'Anno Mundi' and 'The Sabbath Stones' are so spirited and powerful that it seems such a shame that they are not allowed the honour of being considered Sabbath classics.

Cross Purposes may have been far weaker than its predecessors, but songs like 'Cross of Thorns' and 'Cardinal Sin' are up to the high standard that Martin's era had previously set, and continue to be evidence that some fans have simply given up on the band, which never truly fell from grace (in this fan's opinion), which brings me to my final point.

Forbidden is an album that comically slated, ignored and detested by fans and reviewers alike, and while I can understand that the production value is p*** poor, the songs are far superior to those that appear on Cross Purposes. 'Can't Get Close Enough', 'I Won't Cry for You', 'Guilty as Hell' and 'Forbidden' are just as powerful and as any other Sabbath album track, and simply add to the evidence that proves that fans had chosen their second champion in Dio and that Martin's era, despite being responsible for 50% of the band's output Post-Ozzy (Unless you include The Devil You Know, which I don't) is still a forgotten period, filled with forgotten gems.
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Last edited by blackdragon123; 08-06-2013 at 05:55 AM.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good thread! I think Rio made another group: The Ozzy Years (I'm here so I'd call it the REAL Black Sabbath), the Dio Years and the Rest.
Dio was a sublime musician/singer and I'm glad for them to have decided to be Heaven And Hell instead of Black Sabbath. I think both periods were superior to the T. Martin days...
I do agree Heaven & Hell is overrated, but not that much! Dehumanizer is underrated on the other hand. That's an excellent album! I saw Black Sabbath with T. Martin live some 10 years ago or more. Then I saw Ozzy a couple of times. Now there's a chance to see the 3 of them together (we'll miss Bill) which I might have to pass up...
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